Space Bucks

Looking for a strategy game to see you through the New Year? Impressions - now part of the Sierra family - has a darn good one that takes the basic ideas behind their fun strategy game Detroit and puts it in a futuristic setting. Instead of building the perfect automobile, in Space Bucks you'll try and build the perfect spaceship for profit. Will it be a transport that brings you the most success, or a sleek fighter that can outrun pirate ships? Fortune won't come easy, though; the competition is always trying to run you out of business by slashing prices and adding the new features that discriminating customers want.

With SVGA graphics and a number of new options, we can't wait to get our hands on this update of a strategy classic.

Wooden Ships and Iron Men

"Keep an eye out for Lord Nelson, will ya, matey? It's been almost ten years since anyone's published an age-of-sail war game - but here's one that could hit with the impact of a broadside of grapeshot."

- William R. Trotter

Remember those great ship-vs.-ship duels in The Sea Hawk, Captain Blood, and John Paul Jones? The tension as the ships maneuvered for range and advantage? The shirtless gun crews, fuses lit, bending tensely over their cannon? The crash of that first broadside? The stabbing muzzle-flames and rolling banks of smoke? The excitement of watching the enemy's hull splinter, his sails shred, his masts shatter and crash to the deck, trailing tattered canvas, like some huge, mortally wounded albatross? Wooden Ships and Iron Men has it all!

Given such visual drama, one wonders why a whole decade had to pass before a new age-of-sail PC war game appeared (I do not count games such as Pirates! or Uncharted Waters, in which nautical combat plays only an incidental part).

Graphics are gorgeous in Wooden Ships and Iron Men, and realism is enhanced by skilled use of perspective.

I suspect the reasons were partly technological - only now have PC graphics become sophisticated enough to rival the visual excitement of the classic movies cited above - and partly due to marketing perceptions. Wouldn't such a game appeal only to a small, specialized audience?

Not necessarily. C.S. Forrester's classic "Hornblower" novels have never gone out of print in more than half a century, and his contemporary successors - Dewey Lambdin and Patrick O'Brien - regularly land on the bestseller lists. The romance of those stirring days is as timeless as the appeal of the Arthurian myths.

"When we'd completed Fifth Fleet for Avalon Hill and were discussing our next project," recalled Mike Inella of Stanley Associates, "I got very excited about the chance to do Wooden Ships. It's a great board game, to be sure, but I thought we could do a PC treatment that completely eliminated any feeling of counting hexes. We want the player to feel like he's really in these battles; that's one reason why we used the very unorthodox true-perspective technique in the graphics."

The heart of WSIM is the powerful scenario builder, which allows you to swiftly recreate any of the great historic duels, or to construct engagements of your own devising. Victorious captains will especially appreciate the VCR feature, which saves entire battles in the form of movies, so you can replay them to your heart's content. Losing captains will appreciate the added feature that allows you to "jump back in" and take command at any point in the battle -just in case you turned to port at the wrong moment or waited just a few seconds too long to unleash that broadside.

Here's John Paul Jones about to open fire on the Seraphis. Since the British ships mounted more guns, recreating Jones' victory is not easy in Wooden Ships and Iron Men.

In the campaign mode, you assume command of an American ship at the start of the War of 1812 and take her out on a cruise. The game's a bit like Silent Seriice in this mode, since there will be days when nothing happens and your logbook entry will be terse: "Wind from the North. Exercised men on deck. No sails sighted."

On other days, you may intercept a valuable merchantman, or fight a duel with a British frigate. In combat, there are plenty of decisions: take men off the guns and send them aloft, in order to gain more maneuverability? Try to hold fire until you're within chain-shot range, or open up at 1500 yards and hope your solid-shot takes out a mast? Form a boarding party?

The scenario editor makes it easy to set up any engagement you're interested in, and the VCR function lets you build a library of movies depicting your gallant victories.

Combat graphics rival the battle scenes in those classic movies: great rolling clouds of smoke, forests of water- spouts, clouds of splinters, holes in the sails ... all the right stuff, all rendered very realistically in terms of color, perspective, and detail.

Fans of this historic era are going to love this game. Mike Inella summed up its appeal very aptly: "Despite the brutality of shipboard life in those days, there's an incredible swashbuckling romantic appeal to the subject. Just think of all the great, ringing phrases: ‘Don't give up the ship!,' or ‘I have not yet begun to fight!.'

"In every one of those battles, you had skilled, determined, men on both sides, whose very honor was at stake. Ironically, if you set up the Seraphis Bonhomrne Richard scenario in the game, John Paul Jones almost always loses. But his iron determination not to lose his ship tipped the balance, despite the odds. We've tried to incorporate that heroic quality into the game."

Relive the exploits of naval heroes from several countries - many of the scenarios are devoted to battles that are not well known, but are just as dramatic as the famous engagements.

From what I've seen of the Alpha version, Wooden Ships promises to be a heroic game indeed.

Wooden Ships and Iron Men recreates history's most stirring naval battles.

  • Game: Wooden Ships and Iron Men
  • Developer Stanley Associates, Inc., 300 N. Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, (703) 684-1125
  • Projected price: TBA
  • Percentage complete: 8O%

In a nutshell:

This PC conversion of a classic Avalon Hill game lets you recreate some of history's classic ship-to-ship duels and practice a fascinating but arcane variety of tactics.

What is so special? There hasn't been a game devoted to this subject - since The Ancient Art of War at Sea, published in four-color CGA graphics almost a decade ago - in PC terms, that really is ancient. Fans of the Nelsonian era have had to make do with board games and a lot of imagination.

Why should I care?

Has there ever been a more beautiful instrument of war than a ship-of-the-line under full sail? Has there ever been an era of warfare whose basic brutality was more clothed in romantic legend? Wouldn't it be a helluva rush to fire a broadside of chain-shot and see the enemy's mainmast come crashing down like a chain-sawed redwood?

When is it coming out?

Winter 1995

The crew status screen lets you assign men to the sails, to repair duties, or to boarding parties.

How to Join Minecraft Servers

Joining Minecraft servers that are public is pretty simple. All you need to do is open your Minecraft launcher and to run the main game, click on play. If you see the main screen on your monitor or device, select the Multiplayer button. You will need to click the button that says Add Server so that you can add a server.

In the box for the Server Name you should type in the name of the server that you want to join. You can find a good list of Minecraft servers or find one that you like from a YouTube video or something. You also have to include the server address on the box that is labeled Server Address. It could be a domain or an IP address. When you are finish with that, click done so that you can add it to your list of servers. Now all you need to do is click on the server that you wish to connect to.

A problem you might encounter though is whitelisting. This means that a server requires you to apply so that your name can be whitelisted on the server. This means, you have the permission to join the server so there is an application process for this. This could include filling out an application form and waiting for the approval which could take hours or days. This might not be the best option if you have an impatient kid but it will give you the assurance that the server admin is familiar with the people in the server. If you and your kid happen to have separate accounts, then you will need to fill out applications for you and your kid. Once you have been added to the whitelist, then you can follow the steps mentioned above.

But if you will be joining a non-whitelisted server, then you can simply join a server by following the steps that have been previously mentioned.

The Ship

The Ship, created by Outerlight, is a multiplayer online murder mystery hosted on user owned servers utilizing Valve’s Steam distribution system. Currently the game is only available for purchase and download through Steam but will be available in stores in September.

Let me begin by saying that The Ship is not complete, and I will not be judging it on the amount of content in the game but rather how good the current content is. Outerlight will be releasing an “add-on” through Steam that will be available sometime in September. Currently you can buy the multiplayer only for 20 bucks (which does include a single player version of the multiplayer that you can play with some bots), and will be able to get the single player add on for around 10 bucks (not final).

That said, the multiplayer is really awesome. Picture a murder mystery set on board a 1920’s cruise ship, you’re placed here by some mysterious “Mr. X” who has given you the name of another passenger aboard the ship who you must assassinate for a bounty. This quarry also has the name of another player, and so on, so everyone has someone they need to kill, and someone who is hunting them. I’m reminded of billiards by this, where every other deathmatch game is 8-ball, meaning you’re trying to hit anyone on the “other team” into the pocket, then this game is 9-ball, where you must carefully take out one ball at a time in a certain order. It’s a more sophisticated game and requires a finesse that some people just don’t understand.

This comes to the main problem with the game, which is other people. If everyone knew how to play the game right then it would go smoothly like a fine game of 9-ball, but people are used to a more team style deathmatch game where the first player they see should immediately be killed. This ruins the sophisticated atmosphere that so desperately wants to remain prevalent in The Ship.

The good news is that there are measures taken to prevent the deathmatch people from ruining the game. If you run around with your weapon un-holstered you will be arrested quite quickly. There are many cameras and security guards positioned around each cruise liner that whisk people off to an on-board court whenever they’re find “committing a crime”. People can also be arrested by other players or NPC’s onboard the boats, if someone breaks the law, a small popup in the lower right hand corner pops up and gets filled over time, when filled the person is sent to jail. This time can be set by the server and according to the developers, Outerlight, this will become even more customizable in the near future.

So how do you kill your quarry with all these measures keeping you “in line”? You must track your bounty for a while until they are in a safe position for you to slaughter them from behind. This brings us to the “needs” system. It’s almost exactly as if you’re playing The Sims, you have several different needs ranging from going to the bathroom and taking a shower to eating dinner and taking naps. This may sound like an annoying obstacle to stop you from killing your prey, and it is, but it’s an integral part of the game that is much of the finesse I spoke of earlier. Part of tracking your prey is waiting for them to take a dump (which has some great animations and sounds by the way) and then jumping in while they’re sitting there and clubbing them to death with a shovel. This is the kind of thing that is so amazingly satisfying to do in this game and the thing I love the most about it.

On the other hand, it can be frustrating when someone shoots you with a flare gun while you’re trying to have a nice 3 course meal or washing your hands, but that’s part of the game and is usually an acceptable trade-off for being able to do the same to someone else.

One small problem that I’ve found recently is that it is cumbersome to find a proper server to play in. I have spent upwards of 1-2 hours just on finding a good server that doesn’t shut down and has some reasonable settings (some take it upon themselves to “improve” the game by hosting a server with horrible settings that really make the game much worse). But once you do find a good server, this is when the game really gets a chance to shine.

The range of items in the game is really quite impressive for a first person shooter such as this. There are far too many weapons to list here but some of the most notable ones are easy-to-find fire axes that kill in one slash, small letter openers that can stab, large mannequin arms to club people over the back of the head, flare guns which set people on fire (I love the way people run around freaked out as they get burned to a crisp in about 5 seconds), syringes that when injected cause your victim to vomit uncontrollably for about 10 seconds until they die (very gross, but fun), and of course your classic revolvers, Tommy-guns, and my favorite, the candle-stick. As for other items, there are a wide variety of clothing items that you can change into so as to trick your hunter into mistaking you for someone else, and some items to make your “needs” easier to manage, such a bag of chips to satisfy your hunger, caffeine pills to keep you awake, and more unrealistic colonoscopy bags and catheters to let you crap in your pants and piss yourself while you’re out hunting without ruining your fancy suit.

One of my favorite aspects of the game is definitely the setting. There are 5-6 cruise liners that you can currently play on, with more to come in the future, all featuring excellent 1920’s style furniture, music, even stage singers, all of which really make you feel like you’re acting out an old time murder mystery. The ships aren’t perfect, but the developers have said that they are still in the process of tweaking weapon spawn locations (fire axes are far too numerous while letter openers and umbrellas are a rarity) as well as other aspects such as bathrooms and dining facilities. I’m still confused as to whether this game is supposed to take place in the 1920’s or is some sort of creepy replica for this “Mr. X”’s amusement, either way it’s pretty neat-o. The clothing that players wear is all old-timey styled, from dapper suits and sweater vests for men, to classy evening gowns complete with a fur around the neck for women, all of which make the game very refined feeling, not to mention look excellent with unique art styles utilizing the Source engine.

The Ship is extremely entertaining, the predator/prey style gameplay is extremely unique for a first person shooter, and is very well executed, making for gameplay you’ll want to play for a very long time. However the game is not for everyone. If you’re the type of person who has to get the most kills possible and shove it in other player’s faces then this game is not for you, whereas if you’d rather be a sneaky little bastard who clubs people over the back of the head while they’re reading a magazine even if it takes you 2 minutes to follow them around to do so, the you will adore this game. The game is still in the early stages of release, and several bugs are out that are being addressed by Outerlight and should be fixed in future patches, as well as more content to be added such as more systems to prevent “griefers” who are only interested in deathmatch gameplay from ruining it for others. Browsing on the Outerlight forums it appears that the developers are actively listening to what players are saying and will be addressing issues that most players find important. This is a refreshing change from large corporation games like Battlefield 2 who ignore most of the playerbase. Some of you may recall that The Ship was originally going to be a free mod for half-life 2 (and was a mod for half-life 1 with far less features) but was picked up by a publisher and is now available as a stand-alone product not requiring Half-Life 2 to play. This is actually great because even though we have to pay a small amount (20-30 bucks is a steal for this game in my opinion) it still feels like a modification from how to the developers treat the game, but because they’re taking in some revenue they actually have the resources to implement all kinds of awesome features and stuff that would be impossible with a free mod.

If you’re at all interested in a new kind of first person shooter to take a break from the ocean of deathmatch games out there, I suggest downloading this right away. If you’re still uneasy and need convincing you can download the original half-life 1 mod for free (you have to have half life to play) and get yourself excited about the full version with more features and better graphics. Personally I don’t have all that much time play games during the week, but I’ve been spending most my free-time playing this game because I love it. I think I’m going to try to get one more sweet kill in before I go to bed, hope to see you on board the ship, and watch you back because someone might be trying to pump you full of vomit-inducing poison…

3 Ways to Troll IRL

Nothing is more satisfying than seeing your peer be overwhelmed with shock and awe, fear, or temporary anxiety. If you like to screw around with other people's belongings, especially computers, then try these three ways to troll in real life.

1. Insert Key/International Keyboard

Not many people know about how the insert key works (at least on non Mac PCs). If you press it, every time you type something, the next characters are overwritten. If you're in college and your roomate is trying to type up a research paper, nothing is more annoying than that blasted "bug" where you can't edit anything without overwriting what you already wrote. Go ahead, give it a try. It's really annoying, isn't it? Better yet, set up an international keyboard, so when he/she tries to use quotation marks, it won't do anything the first attempt, and on the second attempt two quotes will be returned. Very annoying when trying to cite a quote.

2. Scary Maze Game

I'm not sure if you've heard of this game before, but it is more or less a way to scare the living crap out of an unsuspecting person. The pretense is that the game should be difficult, as it requires high concentration to get out of the maze. You control a dot and must guide it to the end of the maze without touching the corridors. The player can beat two levels without anything popping up yet, so it conditions the player to expect the same things to happen on the third level. The third level is much more narrow than the previous ones, which requires even more attention. This is the highlight of the prank: once the player nearly reaches the end of the third level, an eardrum-melting, shart-inducing screams will be blasted through your speakers, accompanied by a flashing, seizure-inducing sequences of gruesome face of the original "Exorcism girl". At this point, the user typically has a hysterical reaction, which is always fun to see.

3. Install "Embarassware"

I'm not even sure if embarassware is even a meme word, but there are programs that can really embarass you. For example, if you're studying with your friend at the library, you could easily install a program that halts the shutdown process and plays super loud porn sounds. I saw a YouTube video of a guy doing it to his friend once, and a bunch of people in the library looked at him with annoyance and disgust while I laughed my ass off. Another one is picking a lame ass song, high pitched frequency noises, and animal sounds. Playing shitty screamo or noises that want to make you throw up are great ways to pull this off.

The Best Computer Games

Each and every one of us has grown up playing with characters like Sonic, Mario, and Master Chief. Yes, they are immortal. These characters constitute the main elements of some of the best computer games ever created. What should always be remembered is that a newer game is not always the best. Computer gamers have still not moved on from old games such as Age of Empires. Some computer games which are played in almost every household, despite the age or skill of the player are:

Call of Duty: this is one series which has changed the FPS scenario completely. Excellent gameplay and story, coupled with commendable multiplayer support, Call of Duty is one game you shouldn’t miss.

Halo: intended originally for the Xbox, when this game was ported over to the PC by Microsoft, it quickly rose to being one of the best computer games ever invented. Good graphics and an intimidating environment, this game is a remarkable treat.

The Sims: developed by Maxis, The Sims series defines the manner in which a human could live and act. A couple years ago, The Sims 3 was launched and its updates are amongst the most anticipated events online.

World of Warcraft: Blizzard Entertainment shot to fame when Warcraft 2 and Starcraft came out. In World of Warcraft, which is a MMORPG, the players take up roles of different heroes and fight it out online. The resulting carnage is what makes this game so popular.

The above list is merely an indication. The list for the best computer games goes on and on, and is different for every set of players because every player is unique. It is up to you to decide which game to play and which online clan to join.

The Minecraft Phenomenon

Playing video games are one of the most popular activities among today’s generation. In the world of computers, can these addictive games be far so away? There are a number of popular computer games these days, but none of them are like Minecraft. This game was developed by an independent Swedish programmer Markus “Notch” Persson. Minecraft was launched successfully for the PCs initially, but the popularity forced it to be launched for various consoles and even for the smart phones now. Minecraft has been under the revision various times and every time it comes with new thrills and adventures with the newer versions. It is currently one of the best-selling games with over 11 million coppies sold across the world. However, one can also play Minecraft free on some sites.

  • Minecraft has four different gameplay styles which are very much loved by the game enthusiasts.
  • These styles are survival, creative, adventure and multilayer option in their different modes.
  • This game has basic but well rendered graphics, which makes the game very difficult to quit once you start playing it.
  • Minecraft allows the player to use his or her creativity and intelligence. Mental acumen is very much needed in this game.

Why Minecraft is so Popular

The game is very famous as it is available on many platforms, including PC, Xbox 360, mobile phones, and Raspberry Pi. If you are a player, then you can choose everything according to your own comfort like weather and graphics. The environment of Minecraft allows you to build and break the blocks. Free Minecraft accounts are very popular but they have some restrictions as well. The  accounts are accessible to one till a certain period of time, and most likely will not even work.

Minecraft could be played under any kind of the mode like creative mode for PCs. However, the console modes are very common among the game lovers and they love to play it. The accounts for Minecraft are vastly available on the various websites using which you can explore all the game modes, features and you can go to the extreme level for mastery in this game.

The free version is only preferable if a rookie wants to try this game and test it so that he can decide to play further or not. The game could be very daunting for those who are new to this game and may not proceed further after a free Minecraft trial. But for those who know what this game actually is and wish to go ahead and use the free acount until it allows them to. If they can buy the account, then they surely will buy it instead of playing a free version from their browser.

Minecraft is game which is very popular and its popularity is increasing day by day. Free Minecraft mods, maps, texture packs, skins, seeds, and tools are also one of the popularity increasing factors for this game. The challenges which this game provides you are one of the exquisite levels of creativity and strategy both mixed together. Since the launch of this game, everyone has been trying to get their hands on this experience and the game has been in a race to the throne of popularity.

The Counter Strike Score Board

One of the most common mistakes that new players make in Counter Strike is they don’t pay attention to the scoreboards. Scoreboards are available for each of the team members during the game and are updated in real time. They can be more important to fulfilling your mission and beating the round clock than communication between the players. If you know your team members and the game well, you can know what is happening to them just by how it reflects in the status displayed on the board. It also will show who drew the status of VIP and who has what weapons, including bombs.

Who is on Your Scoreboard and Why is it Important?

You will only be able to see the scoreboards for your team members. The scoreboards list all of their information, including their names. If you are playing with people that are unfamiliar to you, this can be the quickest way to familiarize yourself with their capabilities, inventory and status in the game.

Kills, Pings, Deaths and More

The scoreboard keeps track of everything about your character. It lists the number of deaths and kills you have scored, your health stats, inventory, status – such as whether or not you have a bomb or a VIP, but it also records your ping status. The ping status is what will show someone your rate of movement, and whether or not you can move at all. You can be out of sight of each other and still have an idea of what each is capable of doing.

Using the Information to Your Advantage

While you are in the round with the clock running you will be able to see the scoreboard for every member on your team. There are several reasons that this is to your advantage. For one, it will be the only way you may know who the VIP is and who has the bomb. If you are on the counter strike team it will also tell you the location of your team members and their condition. You don’t want to be formulating an entire plan based upon the presence of a team member who is hanging on by a thread. Should one of your team members die during the game their “ghost” will stay in the game and they will still be able to communicate with you. This isn’t just social; they could have some important information to impart as well.

How the Scoreboard Turns into Bonus Money

Every time you complete a map – whether you win or lose, the scoreboard is used to determine any monetary bonus you will receive. Don’t get excited, that means money in the game – not real life. You can use this money to purchase various items and upgrades to weaponry for your main character. You will lose points if you die or run out of time, but the number of kills you had and the role you played (such as a bomb carrier or VIP) will also influence the decision of the bonus algorithm.

What Next for the PlayStation 4?

The Playstation 4 hasn’t been out for that long and gamers are already wondering what will come next on the platform. While the usual answer to this is “wait and see,” there were some significant changes to PS4 that set it apart from earlier generations and also give a hint as to where Sony is going to be taking the console. Looking more closely at what makes PS4 different from early generations will show you an idea of where it just might be heading in the future.

See why the Xbox One is our choice

On the surface it doesn’t look like there is much of a difference between the PS3 and PS4. They both share the same tower design and base controller. Many of the games offered on the PS3 extend over to the PS4 which leaves many people to wonder what exactly changed. The answer to that lies inside the tower case. Inside the PS4 there is a lot that has been rearranged and replaced compared to the PS3.

More Power, More Memory and Better Graphics

PS4 features more power, more memory and a better graphics accelerator than was used in other versions. The hard drive is larger and the Sony single chip processor used was designed specifically for this generation to harness the combined support of these resources for the best gaming experience possible.

More Options, Less Distractions

Sony also built the Playstation 4 with more connection options. Whether you are wiring in with an Ethernet system or using an A/V or I/O cable you are covered. They expanded the ports to allow for full HDMI, digital optical and even Bluetooth pairing. They did away with the support for third party accessories and controllers, the only exception being for third party headsets. There are two potential reasons for this move from Sony. For one; doing away with supporting 3rd party devices and accessories means that they were able to create more room on the boards to upgrade the engineering of the PS4 system. The second is less obvious.

What All this May Mean

Sony also signed deals with a multitude of independent content developers that are now creating games solely for PS4; games that can no longer be played with third party steering controllers or combat joysticks. While this does hone the gaming experience down to a fine point that many people enjoy, it may also signal a longer term view of the development of the Playstation line.

If PlayStation is ceasing to support 3rd party accessories, but still offering the games they were commonly used for and commissioning more similar games – chances are there is an upcoming line of Playstation 4 specific accessories to be released. This would mean specialized controllers that are suitable for driving and shooting games that are made by the company making the system so there is sure to be compatibility and better game functionality overall. Playstation 4 seems to mark the coming of age of Sony as the source for serious gamers.

Homeless Beggars

I think we've all had our fair share of seeing homeless wandering the streets with nowhere to go. I get mixed feelings--some of them are huge assholes, but some are actually kind and decent. Regardless of what their personality is, they are most likely homeless because of their own doing, and they should take responsibility for that and try to get back on their feet without begging like dogs.

People who do not work, but ask other people to give them money and food, are beggars. Today, beggars are looked on with suspicion, because people feel that many of them could get job sif they wanted to. But hundreds of years ago, in the Middle Ages, beggars were religious men who were very much respected. Much irony?

The first beggars are supposed to have been a group of religious people called the Beghards, who lived in Europe about six hundred years ago. Many monks felt they were honoring God by giving up all their possessions and taking a vow of poverty. These monks wandered through the cities, begging in the name of the Church. People believed that giving alms, or charity, to these religious men was a way of obtaining future happiness. These monks were called mendicant friars, which means "begging brothers." They used the moneh to help the sick and the poor. But many other people, who were greedy, and who saw in this custom as a way to make some easy money, used begging to get rich without doing any work. More and more people who did not belong to the Church began to beg, until there were beggars all over Europe.

Countries began to pass laws forbidding people to beg, but little could be done to stop it. Some countries whipped beggars, or put them in jail if they were caught. Today, begging is forbidden in many countries, but the laws are not strictly enforced. In the United States, nearly every state, city, and town has laws against begging.